Red magic 3 is Nubia’s latest gaming smartphone and comes with top of the line specifications, which are expected in a phone geared towards mobile gaming. This device also brings a number of firsts to the smartphone market like a turbo cooling fan and 8K video recording capabilities. Key features of the Nubia Red Magic 3 include Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, up to 12GB of RAM, 5,000mAh battery, 8K video recording support, 90Hz refresh rate display, hair triggers and more.
Let’s find out if Nubia’s third iteration gaming smartphone is able to claim the best gaming smartphone crown or not. We had the 8GB RAM version of the phone for review and here’s what we thought after using it extensively.
Nubia Red Magic 3 does not have the glass and metal sandwich build that has become all too common on smartphones. Instead the Red Magic 3 has a full metal chassis fitted with RGB lights that every gamer will be drawn to. But due to all of this aluminium being used the device feels heavy compared to other phones in the market, and it weighs a hefty 215 grams.
Just like all of the previous Red Magic smartphones, this one also comes with an LED strip on the back, which is fully customizable from the settings panel. It also comes with a fingerprint sensor at the back, which is quite fast in detecting fingerprints and unlocking the device.
Another welcome addition to the Red Magic 3 is its turbo cooling fan, which takes in cool air from the back of the phone, circulates it within to cool the processor and expels hot air from the right edge. This makes using the phone for gaming much more fun, as the device stays cool.
On the right edge of the smartphone, you get hair triggers, which makes gaming much easier, especially when playing PUBG Mobile. On the left edge, you can also find a pin connector to connect accessories and a button to enter the dedicated gaming mode.
Red Magic 3 looks stunning and well built. While holding it you are assured that nothing much will happen to it even if you drop it once or twice, given there is no glass at the back, which makes phones more fragile.
When it comes to gaming apart from sound, latency and ping, display is a major factor for players and the 6.65-inch AMOLED display of the Red Magic 3 with a 90Hz refresh rate does not disappoint. The display is able to get very bright and playing games sitting outside on a summer day with the sun shining right over your head does not hinder the experience. The 90Hz refresh rate is evident while playing games as it makes each and every animation feel very smooth.
Just like the Black Shark 2, the Nubia Red Magic 3 also comes with a 240Hz touch response panel, which reduces latency. This also helps reduce input lag and helps users perform better in competitive gaming. Based on my experience, I would display and touch panel is good quality and has a quick response time, which is needed for gaming.
Nubia Red Magic 3 runs Google’s Android 9.0 Pie operating system with the company’s own skin on top. The UI is near stock at first look, with a few custom icons. The main customisations of the company’s skin show up when you enter the gaming mode by flipping the physical switch.
Game Space is Nubia’s own launcher specifically built for games, where users are given various controls to have a better gaming experience like notification shut down, turbo fan controls, to name a few. In this mode you can swipe from the right to access phone settings, including selecting performance profiles, hair trigger controls, standby mode and other features aimed at improving gaming performance.
With smartphones like the OnePlus 7 and Black Shark 2, we already know that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor is a performance beast. It can easily handle any workload you put on it. The fact that Nubia has also been able to put in a Snapdragon 855 processor at a starting price of Rs 35,000 is much appreciated.
To complement the Snapdragon 855 and give users a better gaming experience, Nubia has provided up to 12GB of RAM, liquid cooling and a turbo fan inside the phone. This combination results in ensuring stable framerates during long gaming sessions and keeping the phone cool at the same time. Even at times when I felt the phone was getting a bit hot, I would turn the fan to Turbo mode, which would cool it down in a matter of a few minutes.
Red Magic 3 also lets you keep a constant eye on its internal temperatures while in the game mode. This feature comes in quite handy as it lets you keep check on the device health and know the reason behind lower frame rates during a game session.
During my time with the phone, I played heavy games like PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty Mobile, Asphalt 9: Legends and more on it. And during extended gameplay hours, I did not suffer from any sort of frame drops or lags. The hair triggers also came very handy as in most FPS games I would use the left one to reload and the right one to shoot, thus improving my response times. In racing games, I would use the left one for braking and the right one for boost.
Configuring the shoulder triggers is very easy and can be done in a few seconds. The device also comes with a 4D Shock mode, which improves the vibration feedback from games. However, this mode can only be accessed from the Game Space mode and currently works only in certain games like PUBG Mobile.
The device was able to handle all sort of games with ease. There wasn’t even a single frame drop even after three hours of constant gaming and Red Magic 3 was able to maintain its cool at all times, which is what you want from a phone geared towards gaming.
Red Magic 3 sports a 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor on the back, which is able to click good photos, depending on the lighting conditions. The images clicked with this were pleasing, the sensor is quick to focus and respond to adjustments. Images came out sharp, vibrant and with nice contrast. The colours were also quite accurate.
Even though, the device only has a single camera sensor on the back, shots taken with it had a nice depth effect added, which made them look quite good. You can quickly swipe between different modes (Pro, Beauty, Normal and more) and even record videos in 8K resolution, however, 8K video recording feature is still in beta.
The device also comes with a few interesting features like Light Draw, which basically increases the exposure time in videos so that you can capture light streaks. The multi-camera mirror effect can let you use the camera to click multiple photos of a person/thing and bind them into one.
The 8K video recording feature is currently in beta and the company advises users to use it outdoors. I don’t own an 8K monitor so haven’t been able to see the video recording the way its meant to be. However, from the way I can see it on the display, the output looks choppy.
The phone has a 16MP front camera, which can shoot detailed images that are bright and colourful. An issue I noticed with its front camera was that even with the beauty mode turned off, it made the skin too smooth and noticeably lighter. While the Red Magic 3 doesn’t have the best cameras in the market, but it does get the work done.
The Red Magic 3 is backed by a 5,000mAh with support for 27W fast charging. The device lasted more than a day on a single charge with at least two to three hours of heavy gaming every day. The included charger got the phone to 100 per cent in under one and a half hour, which is impressive and needed on a phone that is priced in the above Rs 30,000 range.
While playing games like PUBG Mobile the battery took a hit of around 30 per cent after three hours of continuous gaming. This is not bad as I was playing in the highest settings with the brightness cranked up fully. The battery performance of the device was reassuring, which is crucial in a gaming smartphone.
Red Magic 3 is a good gaming smartphone for the asking price. Nubia has put in every element a gamer could have asked for in a phone with focus on good performance and display along with a dedicated gaming mode. Considering the price of the Red Magic 3, this is one of the best deals you can get as of now, especially if you are into gaming.
The Red Magic 3 is a great deal, but it is not for everyone. This is because the phone is a bit heavy, has a larger than normal display and comes with a slew of features that most regular users wouldn’t use or even need. Plus the camera could be better, which is crucial for the average customer. For casual gamers, this will be an overkill, though it will certainly offer a much better performance than any other device on the market.